More easy activities for the low-level language classroom

When you are put in charge of teaching English to young children it can often be quite challenging. They need to be constantly entertained and engaged, which means either one really fun task, or lots of little ones are necessary. Any activity that is not the least bit fun will have the children off-task and not learning, so I have designed and modified quite a few fun and easy to use tasks that can easily be implemented anytime your children's attention seems to be dwindling. Today I will tell you of two I use quite often when I teach numbers.

The first one is one of my favourites as it is really easy to do, takes next to no preparation, and is especially good in Japan where the children are constantly doing paper-scissors-rock. Simply tell the students to do paper scissors rock as normal, but instead ask them to put out any number of fingers they want. The winner is the person who can add up the sum of fingers out and say the number in English first. Students love this game and they can play it for hours. Often when I play it I leave the students to their own devices and they start experimenting by using more than two people, which means they have a desire to learn higher numbers if they haven't done so already. This task is also great because it has the students calling out the numbers in a random order, which is the only way vocabulary should really be learnt as this is a closer representation to how we actually use vocabulary. When you say a number in real life, you don't try to remember it by recalling the numbers that come before it do you? No! You just say it! (Same can be said for the days of the week etc. they shouldn't all be learnt at the same time! Don't use a song to teach these things, only to practice them!)

One other activity that I have used to practice numbers is the '5 little monkeys' nursery rhyme. Simply ask the kids to copy you as you sing the song. For each number I hold up the corresponding number of fingers and repeat it a few times to give some extra pronunciation practice too. You don't really have to sing it if you don't want to because the rhymes are actually quite good. The kids really love it when they 'jump on the bed', and when it gets to what the doctor said I always walk up to a student pointing at them like they have been naughty, always good for some fun! It also finishes with the mama jumping on the bed so you can go all crazy at the end which the kids love! Then when you feel like you want to finish, quickly sit down and watch the kids copy you! So easy and so much fun!

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